Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Pod power!

AppleInsider has released two iPod-related reports over the last two days, and they're both pretty interesting.

Yesterday, they updated with new information on Panther's rumored "Home on iPod" feature that would allow a user to sync their home folder directly onto an iPod or other external FireWire hard drive and log into it on another Mac. FileSync technology would update the contents of the computer's home folder when the drive is reconnected.

Current information suggests that Apple simply hadn't worked the bugs out of "Home on iPod" for the first release of Panther. AppleInsider suggests that Apple may include the new feature in the 10.3.5 update to Panther, which should show up in the new year.

Today, AppleInsider went on to do some general speculation about the iPod's future. The question posed is one becoming more and more important. How far is Apple willing to expand the iPod? The question is asked amid rumors and speculation of many different hand-held devices, from a tablet to a video player to a video-conferencing device.

If Apple really does have more iPod-like devices up its sleeve, we may see a change in the marketing angle. Rather than just the "iPod", we could see the "iPod Music Player" and the "iPod Video Player". The current design of the iPod wouldn't necessarily make a great video player, so (if Apple is working on a digital video player, that is) a new product would be necessary.

The main thing for Apple to keep in mind is that people generally want seperate gizmos to do specifics things (and do them well). Sure, a PDA can play mp3s, but most people don't use their PDA as an mp3 player (they have an iPod, instead!). It's the same problem Nokia has with its "N-Gage" game system. People want a cell phone and a gaming system, but they don't want a cell phone in their gaming system. So far the iPod is just a music player, with some great other features, too. But will it stay that way? (And that brings us back to the question at hand)

Before we can tell where Apple's taking the current iPod, we'll have to figure out more about what Apple's gadget plans are (video player? tablet? etc?).

And, by the way, that "Home on iPod" feature sounds really cool. It's actually a good reason to buy the 40 GB iPod.


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